Opioid Task Force seeks public input

The Winneshiek County Opioid Task Force is conducting an anonymous public survey to determine how to spend money from a grant received to help fight the battle against the opioid and fentanyl epidemics.

According to the CDC, in Iowa in 2021 (most recent year for data) there were 475 opioid-related deaths. In 2023, more than 112,000 people died due to opioids in the United States, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl has been the main cause of those deaths.

“In order to support the population of Winneshiek County, the county has participated in the recent lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies that helped to create the current opioid crisis in the United States,” said a press release from Jon Vagts of Helping Services for Youth & Families. “As a result of this participation and the settlements, Winneshiek County will receive a total of $283,000. This amount will be broken into payments to the county over the next several years.” 

Vagts’ press release also said the county has established a task force to support the county with finding ways to utilize the funds to better support Winneshiek County. 

“This task force is made up of law enforcement, community members, substance use prevention, public health, substance use and mental health treatment and local government,” said Vagts’ press release. “These funds do have to be used for the treatment or prevention of drug use.” 

Vagts also announced the task force is conducting a survey for Winneshiek County residents to complete, which will help the task force determine the best use of the funds it received. 

“This survey is anonymous and will only take a few minutes to complete,” he said. To complete the survey go to: https://forms.gle/uFk59odRK1v6t78x5

For more information on opioids or other substances, visit yourlifeiowa.org. For information on the Winneshiek County Opioid Task Force, call Jon Vagts at 563-380-5884.  

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